Measuring the Metrics That Matter: The Do's and Don'ts for Inbound Contact Centers

Understanding the impact customer service has on a business' bottom line is half the battle in establishing an exceptional customer service department. The other half is setting the stage for successful agent training and positive customer interactions. To begin, each company needs to define customer success in the context of its business goals, whether that's increasing sales, winning repeat business, or reducing service claims. Once the customer success objectives are established, organizations can start looking at their contact center metrics with a fresh eye and consider them in light of how those measurements can help them achieve their goals.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the first step is often to ignore how you have previously established traditional contact center metrics for your customer service agents. While these may still play a role in how you evaluate the success of your contact center, they may also not be presenting a holistic picture of the customer experience your company is delivering. Here are a few do's and don'ts to consider when it comes to reviewing metrics in ways that can help you provide optimal customer service:


1. Quantify transfer rate. According to a study by Zogby Analytics, 14 percent of customers are most aggravated when transferred to multiple agents during one call. Reduce the number of transfer calls by adjusting your IVR queues to route calls correctly the first time, educating your agents so they develop more skills to answer tough questions, or tapping into call logs to understand why transfers are occurring.

Thirty-one percent of callers will only wait five minutes on hold before hanging up, so those five minutes have the ability to make or break a relationship with your customer. This is where measurement needs to go beyond simple, quantifiable data; if hold times are negatively impacting business goals, call routing can be a way to turn the tide. Properly routing calls to connect customers directly to the agent best suited to answer their questions can reduce transfers and repetitive explanations, lowering overall hold times while improving the experience for individual callers.

2. Track employee satisfaction. The most successful companies find their customer engagement levels are much higher when their agents themselves have high job satisfaction. Look at recent employee feedback or consider conducting internal employee surveys to help managers understand if they're creating a culture where employees enjoy coming to work and feel they have the skills needed to do their job successfully. When employees feel fulfilled and empowered in their ability to solve customer requests, it will show—from customer satisfaction scores to your bottom line.


1. Measure average talk times the old-fashioned way. This is one of the most common metrics in the contact center space, and it is considered a quick and simple way to measure the performance of contact center agents. However, if you're only looking at the length of a call, you may be overlooking specifics of customer interaction that can be truly insightful. While a shorter call might seem more successful because it is assumed that the problem was solved faster, a longer call may actually prove more productive in the long run by eliminating repeat calls and delivering a better experience for the customer.

Instead of just focusing on short talk times, determine which agents have the highest first call resolution rates or earn the best feedback. They are your most valuable players, and their tactics can help drive your ultimate business objectives.

2. Monitor abandon rates on their own. When viewed on their own, contact center abandon rates don't always tell the full story. They can be affected by several factors, such as how long customers want to wait, what kind of answers they've received at the time of abandonment, the time of day, etc.

Customer relationship management tools allow your management teams to analyze call patterns or individual calls with customer interaction details to truly understand what occurred. Managers can then encourage teams to focus on call quality and effective issue resolution techniques so customers will wait for service instead of abandoning the call.

The truth is, 64 percent of customers call customer service to troubleshoot a problem they're having, and it's the job of your contact center's customer support team to ensure these requests are handled with speed, efficiency, and professionalism. Take the time to map out what your company and customers care about and take a fresh look at traditional metrics in terms of what you could be doing to better deliver the experiences customers expect and reach your overall company goals. Taking a step back to analyze these metrics will set your business up for success by making customers happier and earning more of their business in the future.

Matt Lautz is president of CorvisaCloud, a cloud-based contact center solution provider. He started his first software development company at the age of 16, growing it into a software development and VoIP company where he served as CEO for more than eight years.